Things to Do Near Joshua Tree National Park02/08/23
You can easily spend two weeks in and around Joshua Tree Park and still not see all the sights. From quirky Joshua Tree Town to the glamour of Palm Springs to the wild west of Pioneertown, there is much to see and do here.
Anytime you want to take a break from exploring the rock formations and stunning trails of Joshua Tree National Park, here are the best Joshua Tree attractions.
Taking a walk down main street Pioneertown is like immersing yourself in a scene from a wild west movie. This was, after all, a 1940s Hollywood film set. Today, it is filled with independent shops. Make it a point to check out Pappy and Harriet’s Pioneer Place just next door.
Just as adorable on the inside as on the outside, you can’t miss this little treasure housed in a neon green photo booth right in Joshua Tree town. It is full to the brim of colorful chrochet works of all varieties. The museum is part of Art Queen, an eclectic art complex where recycled art reigns supreme.
Recycled art is the name of the game here. From bicycle tires to beer kegs, retro computers to toilets, these supposed ‘junk’ items make surprisingly delightful works of art. Showcasing the genius of artist Noah S. Purifoy, this visual art sculptor lived in the Joshua Tree area and made quite a name for himself. The open-air museum is a mix of the quirky and clever where many of the pieces convey compelling messages about our world.
Visit an honest-to-gosh wild west waterhole – it’s one of the most popular spots in town. With its dark rustic interior, you can fold yourself into a corner and enjoy the beer of your choice. Of course, they have non-alcoholic options if you don’t care to imbibe. The décor is a good as its food offerings and a welcome respite after a long day in the park.
Located in Twentynine Palms, go back to a bygone era and watch a full-length movie under the stars. Simply drive in, park your car, and tune your radio to the Smiths Ranch audio channel. For five bucks per person, you can watch a movie the way movies where meant to be watched – outside with your family or on a date! They are generally open Thursday-Sunday, but check their website for specific showtimes.
Perched on a scenic hillside in the Yucca Valley, marvel at 40 stone white sculptures that depict the life of Christ. Even if you are not religious, this is a remarkable place to visit for the sheer beauty of it. It is a tranquil and serene spot high in the hilltops of the surrounding desert landscape.
Antique and Vintage Shopping
Joshua Tree Town has a nice variety of antique and other vintage shopping:
• Pioneer Crossing Antiques – homewares and quirky vintage jewelry
• Ricochet Vintage Wears – vintage clothing and accessories, including cowboy boots
• The End – a designer resale boutique
Located in Joshua Tree Town, look for the big desert cowboy towering over what looks like a gas station, but it really a fun souvenir shop of all things Joshua Tree. Shop for custom souvenirs, potted cactus, and pretty darn good coffee.
A portion of the famous Route 66 is about 45 minutes from Joshua Tree near the town of Amboy and well worth the side trip for those up for a little nostalgia. Don’t miss a stop at Roy’s Motel and Café, where you can grab a root beer and pose under the iconic Roy’s neon sign. Get your kicks…
This is an interesting dome structure about 20 minutes north of Joshua Tree National Park in Landers, CA. Relax and rejuvenate under their signature quartz Sound Baths in an hour-long sonic healing session. It is an incredible and unique experience in the middle of the desert.
This famous Californian town makes for the perfect day trip from the park. It’s a glamorous escape from the trails of Joshua Tree. Take a ride on the Palm Spring Aerial Tramway, visit the art museum, stroll around the colorful Indian Canyons Neighborhood, and check out the San Gorgonio Pass wind farms.